Sex and Asexuality

Someone asked why I am asexual. I responded:

I don't know. My speculation: there are parts of me that lie dormant until "called up" by some outside influence. For the most part, I am "blind" to those outside influences. I never notice when someone is flirting with me, for example. So I miss all the cues that might act as prompts to bring my sexuality "online." Unprompted, I don't notice whatever spontaneous sexuality I may have.

That's part of it. Another part is my experience. When I have engaged in sexual relations with other people, the result has always included failure on my part to perform "adequately" in the social realm. (Sexually, I seem to be okay. On occasion, I've even been told I've got fewer "hangups" about sex itself than many/most people do.) Sex isn't something that occurs to me as a positive option except when someone I like and trust suggests it. Since I'm basically asocial, I don't have a lot of people in my life/history who get to that point. (Seems like a lot to me, but it's much fewer people than "normal," apparently.) Everyone who's ever been in that position (who has become someone I like/trust and then has suggested sex) has also wanted to "move the relationship to a new level" because of adding sex. The "new level" is where I don't perform well at all. My forms of feeling and expressing love are deemed inadequate (or not real, even), and the forms of feeling and expressing love that are poured on me (as a kind of challenge, it feels like, trying to evoke an "appropriate" response from me) from my POV "smell" a lot like sentimentality and melodrama.

Since adding sex to a friendship has always resulted in the loss of what I value most about my most precious friendships, I have experienced what amounts to "aversive training" not to make sex any kind of priority in my life. (Is "aversive training" the right phrase? I mean the kind of training that uses aversives to "train out" or extinguish "unwanted behaviors.")

I just went back and read the Snip called Dating [sixth down in the middle column of the index at the top of this page]. At that point in my life, I was not self-steering socially or sexually. Took me a decade or so to begin to figure out that I could say No. And then another decade or two to figure out that I am better off if I do (say No) because sex leads to a kind of relationship that doesn't work for me. In Women From Another Planet, I described briefly my two serious attempts to be part of a couple (where "couple" implies lovers as well as house-mates with a sense of commitment to one another).